F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

Welcome to F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum. This is a free service provided for parents of those suffering from eating disorders. It is moderated by kind, experienced, parent caregivers trained to guide you in how to use the forum and how to find resources to help you support your family member. This forum is for parents of patients with all eating disorder diagnoses, all ages, around the world.

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K63
Hello all it’s been some time since I posted . My daughter suffered from anoxeria for some time she recovered and appeared to be doing well. Some time ago she started binging and put on weight which she was very unhappy about.  She stopped binging and restricted and lost the weight .She is 22 years old. Recently she is eating excessively and she is aware of this and has put in weight which she is unhappy about and has expressed to me how unhappy she is about this. She is finishing her final year in college and appears happy a lot of the time and has a boyfriend but I don’t think she can stop this on her own. How can I support her as after being through anoxeria I am traumatised and fear saying the wrong thing. This is causing me great stress at the moment.  I have said she can pull on any supports she needs but seems to think she can do this alone . I know it’s a tough time for her as college ended early due to the covid 19.
Any advise appreciated.
Daughter started restricting in February 2014, tried re feeding at home hospital admission 4 1/2 months weight restored started restricting post discharge, back on meal plan full supervision weight restored april 2016. Starting to hand back responsibility for meals it's scary. 
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Foodsupport_AUS
Sorry that your daughter is still struggling. I notice you posted last year about similar issues and your D was seeing a nutritionist about things. I gather this fell through or they didn't get on well? Was the person your D saw working on HAES ( Health at every size) principles? I think many of us carry traumas from our children being so ill and we all worry that something could be the trigger that makes them very ill again. 

How can we support you to support her? Funnily most of them say they can do it on their own, but really they need that background support. Is she back at home with you in these difficult times, where is she living?
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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Torie

Hi K63, Nice to hear from you again, although sorry your report is not all sunshine and unicorns.  I'm a little confused about her journey:  Has she ever been well and truly weight restored?  We all know and hate that process of depositing weight first on the face and belly - did she push on through that to when the weight redistributed?

You said she is currently "eating excessively": can you give us a little more detail on that?  It isn't clear to me what you think the problem is at present - sorry if I'm just being dense here. xx

-Torie

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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K63
Hi  Foodsupport and Torie, So my daughter fully regained her weight and was and is seeing a dietician . She was at a healthy bmi of approx 21 -21.7 and was doing very well. I think it may have been the stress of final year college but she started binging which she told me about ,we tried to get her extra help and support her but she said she could sort it herself. So since she appears to be going between binging , restricting and overeating for at least a year . Now due to coved 19 she is home from college and will be living at home for a few months at least. So she now is presently at bmi of approx 22.8. When she overeats and due to the weight gain she gets upsets and cries and says she hates her body . I am traumatised from the anoxeria and am afraid to say anything as I am afraid of this happening again but I am fully aware that this is still a serious issue and she needs help around it.

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Daughter started restricting in February 2014, tried re feeding at home hospital admission 4 1/2 months weight restored started restricting post discharge, back on meal plan full supervision weight restored april 2016. Starting to hand back responsibility for meals it's scary. 
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MKR
Hi @K63,

Someone said today that we have been given the family time as a plus in this traumatic time. 

Your daughter is back in your care and you have the chance to structure her meals and snacks every 3 hours. Also, you can fill her up on enough variety that she hopefully will not crave carbs like cereal or sweets.

Are you able to distract her between meals, which in turn will ease her stress around her finals?
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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Foodsupport_AUS
Hopefully since she is home you can act as a support and stabilisation. There is a lot of thought that binging actually results from restriction - so regular small meals, following all hunger cues are essential. If you can hone in on what you observe, her distress, her restriction etc. hopefully helping her move towards those meals being consistent all day.
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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Torie
My d and many others needed to be at a significantly higher BMI than that for brain healing.  I urge you to consider that your d may be among these. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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dancinggirl
Edited to remove comment that is not clinically proven,  (Sorry)  Her weight gain does not seem alarming but I am sure for her it seems excessive and scary.  I would really try to focus on emotions rather than weight.  People with eds often call something binging when it is actually just eating more than usual or differently from what they normally eat.  (ie. a subjective vs. objective binge)  I do think using the term "overeating" might be unhelpful as well.  As others have said continue feeding her regularly with snacks and perhaps look into exploring coping tools that can help her manage her anxiety as well as helping her restructure her self talk about her changes in her eating.
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evamusby_UK
I echo what others have written about regular meals, as from everything I've read (not experienced though), binges come as part of a restriction cycle.
Eva Musby, mother, author, produces lots of resources for parents at https://anorexiafamily.com and on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/EvaMusby/playlists
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melstevUK
Hi K63,

From what you are saying I suspect that your d is at a 'safe' weight, (her body is not compromised medically) but not at a 'recovery' weight for her which has not yet  taken her up to her natural weight.

I don't know how much she is eating but it could be that she needs to be eating more and putting on weight to get to a solid recovery.  
One of the problems for us as parents is that, when our children have been ill for many years, we get used to them looking thin and underweight and that has become the norm without us being aware of it. 

Right now if you can remain confident, tell d that this is probably her body and brain's response because she still has more growing to do.  Encourage her not to worry, to eat regularly and allow herself to eat freely and put on weight, however terrifying she feels it is.  Tell her that if she is hungry there is a reason for this.  She might still not be able to let go like this because I think she must only be in her early twenties and still has more maturing to do. 

When my own d finally recovered, I was really anxious because she started to eat food in quantities I had previously never seen her eat and I knew she would put on more weight than she wanted. I even thought she started to look chubby but I held my nerve and told her that it is very common to overshoot your weight by about ten per cent and that it would settle with time.  It took about a year for her weight to stabilise and her eating to settle into a more restrained pattern and now she looks great. She moved from having a very adolescent body to that of a woman. 

So if you can hold your nerve I would encourage your d to take the path of accepting the eating and weight gain, reassure her that this is very normal and that she will come out the other side in a much better place if she can push through. Don't worry about saying the wrong thing. Just guide her through and be prepared to let go of the image you yourself may have of what her 'normal' is.  It is not an easy process for either her or you but it needs facing down. 
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
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Vicky2019
I think the way to beat binging with anyone is regular eating - if you don't get too hungry you don't want to eat massive quantities in one go. So from a practical point of view I would encourage your daughter to eat 6 times a day - protein rich food will satisfy her hunger, be good for her in terms of nutrition and won't appear 'unhealthy' if that might trigger her.
If you can get her to maintain a habit of 'six a day' she will be able to conquer her binges. It is a very different way of eating to many others (especially with intermittent fasting being so fashionable currently) but I think it works for people who are vulnerable to eating disorders of any kind. 
It is good she is at home with you because you can support her, and check she isn't losing weight. 
I also agree that if you can explain that everybody's weight fluctuates a bit and not too get too stressed might help. 
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K63
Thanks to everyone for your very helpful replies. I have thought about this and it could be exactly that because of seeing her being so underweight for so long that now that she is at a good healthy weight it’s so different. I am planning and we are having regular meals and this is good. She loves chocolate so for now she is allowing herself to have some each day and I am not commenting . She eats a very balanced diet but when emotional she eats more. Hopefully she will be home for some time now due to Covid 19 and I will continue to support her.
Daughter started restricting in February 2014, tried re feeding at home hospital admission 4 1/2 months weight restored started restricting post discharge, back on meal plan full supervision weight restored april 2016. Starting to hand back responsibility for meals it's scary. 
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